Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn said Cambodia has progressed in its human resources, which supported the Kingdom’s average economic growth of seven per cent for more than 20 years.

His statement came as he attended the 74th session of the UN General Assembly last Saturday, under the theme “promoting multilateral efforts for poverty elimination, quality education, climate change and inclusive activities”.

Through a video disseminated on the UN Web TV, Sokhonn said: “The Human Development Index has considerably increased in recent decades, which places us in the category of average human development and makes us the eighth-most highly performing country in the world over this period.”

Sokhonn, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, said between 1990 and 2017, life expectancy from birth increased by almost 16 years moving from 53.6 years to 69.3 years.

Cambodia has seen a net reduction in infant and maternal mortality and the number of deaths due to AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Access to primary education is now virtually universal and the rate of school enrolment in primary education is around 100 per cent for girls and boys.

Representing Prime Minister Hun Sen, Sokhonn said: “We translate our commitment summed up by the phrase “leave not one behind in policies and actions”.

“The adoption of the national strategic framework for social protection 2016-2025 marked a turning point which illustrates the great importance that my government attaches to social protection.

“Previously my country benefited from UN peacekeeping operations. But today Cambodia has become one of the most active contributors to these missions with more than 6,300 blue helmets deployed in eight African countries and the Middle East since 2006.”

Sokhonn said this year Cambodia has been placed 29th out of 122 countries providing contingents and has been placed third among Asean countries for the number of peacekeepers.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Ket Sophann could not be reached for further comment.

Political science expert Em Sovannara said yesterday that he noticed among UN member countries, only Venezuela and China supported Cambodia in its human rights report.

Sovannara said that this is the country’s challenge while the EU is pressuring it by reviewing its EBA status.